Hwang Woo-suk (Korean: 황우석, born January 29, 1953) is a South Korean veterinarian and researcher. He was a professor of theriogenology and biotechnology at Seoul National University (dismissed on March 20, 2006) who became infamous for fabricating a series of experiments, which appeared in high-profile journals, in the field of stem cell research. Until November 2005, he was considered one of the pioneering experts in the field, best known for two articles published in the journal Science in 2004 and 2005 where he reported to have succeeded in creating human embryonic stem cells by cloning.
On May 12, 2006, Hwang was charged with embezzlement and bioethics law violations after it emerged much of his stem cell research had been faked. The Korea Times reported on June 10, 2007, that Seoul National University fired him, and the South Korean government canceled his financial support and barred him from engaging in stem cell research While being charged with fraud and embezzlement, he has kept a relatively low profile at the Sooam Bioengineering Research Institute in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province, where he currently leads research efforts on creating cloned pig embryos and using them to make embryonic stem-cell lines. Since the controversy subsided, despite the history and his lost credibility as a scientist, Hwang's lab has been actively publishing manuscripts, many of which have appeared on PubMed, the online database for biomedical research. In June 2010, a groundbreaking ceremony was held in Guro-gu, Seoul, for a new addition to Hwang's Sooam Bioengineering Research Institute. In February 2011, Hwang visited Libya as part of a W150 billion project in the North African country to build a stem cell research center and transfer relevant technology. However, the project was canceled when civil war started there.
Hwang was sentenced to a two years suspended prison sentence at the Seoul Central District Court on 26 October 2009, after being found guilty of embezzlement and bioethical violations but cleared of fraud. On this same day, CNN reported that the scientist in 2006 admitted faking his findings, after questions of impropriety had emerged. He had his conviction upheld on 15 December 2010 by an appeals court in South Korea, which knocked 6 months off Hwang’s suspended sentence.
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